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Ensuring Fair Treatment for Fathers in Family Court

There are several types of courts that address various types of issues or cases. In Maryland, Circuit Courts handle issues ranging from asset division during divorce to the allocation of custody, visitation, and alimony when a couple splits.

Any of these situations, especially when being brought forward in the court system should be done with an experienced attorney. Most men in divorce or custody events are often unaware of their rights throughout these processes, leading to inequitable outcomes.

A father’s rights to fair treatment require self-advocacy and a knowledge of what to do before the court makes its decisions. Being aware of the common biases in these court proceedings makes it clear why you need to have an advocate for equitable treatment.

Experienced attorneys work diligently to rectify systemic imbalances and promote fairness and justice in custody and visitation decisions.

Here is what fathers need to know about how to secure fair treatment in family court and what such treatment looks like.

Establishing Paternity as the First Step

Before a father can defend his rights in court, he must first prove his paternity—a man cannot take advantage of a father’s rights if he is not the legal father of a child. Paternity can be proven in numerous ways:

  • Attestation – If the mother attests that the man is the father and the man agrees, he may be presumed to be the father absent any other testing. However, during times of strain such as divorce, parties who are not splitting amicably may meet difficulty in this area.
  • Genetic testing – Fathers can complete a DNA test to confirm that a child is theirs. If the test is a match, they are automatically labeled the father.
  • Documentation proof – In the case of adopted children, the adoption paperwork can serve as sufficient evidence if the father has legally adopted the child.

Once a father has demonstrated paternity, he has access to a range of father’s rights in court. These include equitable treatment and the right to petition or appeal.

Fairness in Custody and Visitation Arrangements

Fathers have the right to be evaluated equitably when determining custody and visitation arrangements, regardless of gender. He has the right to petition for custody of a child rather than waiting for the mother or court to determine it for him.

Visitation and custody decisions are typically made based on a wide range of factors that affect the well-being of the child, such as:

  • section of children during a divorceAbility to provide financially
  • Access to opportunities (school clubs, the school itself)
  • Security of housing
  • Transportation
  • A history of providing a parental role (e.g., scheduling doctor appointments)
  • Time spent with the child on average
  • Who the child chooses (depending on the minor’s age)
  • Any history of mistreatment

Fathers have the right to submit this information for due consideration. If they believe their evidence has not been adequately evaluated, they may appeal the custody decision.

Fairness in Asset Division and Alimony

During divorce, fathers also have the right to equitable division of assets and allocation of alimony, even if they do not receive custody of the child. Many courts may attempt to secure more financial recompense from the father in order to support the child, who is with the mother.

However, men have the right to fair asset division that preserves their standard of living when possible. They also have the right to receive alimony if they qualify and child support if they do receive custody and the mother’s financial situation makes her eligible.

What to Do When Things Go Wrong

Throughout the family court process, numerous issues can arise, and men maintain their rights during these challenges as well. For instance, if the mother violates the boundaries of a custody or visitation agreement, such as by failing to return the child or scheduling a vacation during the father’s normal time, the father has the right to petition the court with a complaint.

lawyer explained to the client about the father's rights that must be brought against the court caseThis allows the court to issue an order for the other parent to comply with the existing arrangement, create a new one, or face consequences.

Additionally, if a father is facing difficulty with a mother who is not complying with an attestation of paternity, he has the right to establish paternity on his own. The father may petition the court for its own order establishing paternity.

Get Help from Legal Professionals to Defend Your Father’s Rights

Being a father can be a difficult challenge throughout the divorce process, as issues ranging from child custody to asset division require thorough knowledge of men’s rights and the strategies needed to ensure fair treatment.

The legal team at SIEGELLAW represents fathers in family court to ensure they receive the treatment they deserve without bias. Contact SIEGELLAW to schedule a consultation before your court date, whether you are facing a custody issue, alimony challenge, or something else.

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